For a few years now I've been trying to make cakes from scratch instead of using the box mixes. I often have these little baking fantasies of wearing some cute apron over my Lucile Ball type dress and heels, baking away like June Cleaver, turning out delicious cakes and delights!
Most who know me well, know that I cannot live without my aprons! They are comfort to me like a bathrobe and security like girdle! When my apron is on, I feel all held together and somewhat empowered to take on any task in the kitchen - it's like my superhero cape!
Anyway, back to cakes.
As I've tried to make homemade cakes, I've turned out some pretty dry, bland and hard cakes! It's been a bit of a rough road. At moments I just want to crawl back to the box mix and play it safe! But I've pressed on in my stubbornness and I've come up with some winners!
Father's Day last year I made this chocolate cake and it was divine.
I just made it for my son's birthday and whereas I think I could have baked it a few minutes less, it was a delicious cake.
And the frosting... it's like marshmallows! What could be better?
Once again, the recipe is from my favorite Every Day Food magazine which they have discontinued! When I got the notice I felt sick to my stomach. How can I live without my favorite magazine and recipe book? I immediately grabbed my apron and curled up in the fetal position for an hour and felt better!!!
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 3/4 cups sugar, divided
- 4 large eggs, plus 5 large egg whites, room temperature, divided
- 5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment; butter parchment and dust pans with cocoa.
- Whisk boiling water into cocoa until smooth; whisk in sour cream. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and 2 1/4 cups sugar on medium-high until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in whole eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Fold in 4 teaspoons vanilla.
- Divide batter among pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool completely. Remove cakes from pans and discard parchment. Trim cakes if desired.
- In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, egg whites, and corn syrup until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; using mixer, beat on high until stiff, fluffy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold in remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- Transfer a cake layer to a serving plate and top with 1 cup frosting. Stack second cake on top and cover top and sides with remaining frosting.
*What I've learned from baking homemade cakes is that it is important to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS EXACTLY! Spoon and level the flour, get stuff to room temperature... don't think that it doesn't matter, because I've found that it does! And, for me, the #1 way to ruin a homemade cake is to over bake it. This cake says to bake for 45-50 minutes and I baked my 2 rounds for 35 minutes! Every oven is different, so always set the timer for less time and keep checking your cakes. It's trial and error with the timing, but it makes the world of difference from a moist delicious cake to a dry one!